Coleman's Shults a four-gone standout (video)
TOWN OF ULSTER, N.Y. — Katie Shults is a veteran when it comes to state basketball tournaments.
John A. Coleman Catholic High’s girls basketball team is preparing for a fifth consecutive trip to the big event and the senior point guard has been a valuable part of the last four,
The (23-0) Stateswomen, which won the Class D title two of the last three years, play Hoosic Valley in the Class C semifinals 2:15 p.m. Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College.
“I’m definitely spoiled by this,” an apologetic Shults said during Monday’s practice.
“I was on the varsity when I was a freshman. That was the year we won the state title the first time.”
Shults provided a defensive spark coming off the bench the first two years and has been starting at the point the last two.
“It’s been an incredible experience. I’ve really been blessed.”
She said it’s hard to compare the previous state-bound teams.
“They’re all very different and unique,” Shults said. “Each season has different challenges and things to overcome.”
Shults has worked hard to improve her game, enhancing her shooting, passing and dribbling skills while remaining the team’s top defender.
“I think I’m a lot more confident this year,” she said. “Last year, I was really trying to get the hang of it.”
This weekend will be bittersweet in that it marks her basketball finale.
Shults has starred in every sport she’s tried, standing out in soccer, basketball, cross country and track.
It is soccer, however, that she will pursue in college.
She committed in January to attend Division III Messiah College in Grantham, Pa.
Located 20 minutes from Harrisburg, Messiah is a powerhouse. The Falcons have won the national championship three of the last year years, including last fall.
Messiah edged SUNY New Paltz 1-0 in the Sweet 16.
“I’ve always heard about Messiah. They’re known for their program and just how successful they are,” said Shults, aware that the college is 119-2-4 in the last five seasons.
Those two losses were in the national final. Continued...
“I knew I wanted to play soccer in college and I wanted to go to a Christian college,” she said. “The faith aspect is an important part of my life.
“It’s a number one priority even in my sports.”
Shults has always loved to run and play team sports. She started playing soccer, which she calls “my first sport,” in fifth grade.
Before Coleman began its girls soccer program two years ago, she was a starting forward as a sophomore on the boys varsity squad.
“That was an amazing experience,” she said “I loved the faster pace of the game. It pushed me to get better.”
Shults benefited from the teachings of three soccer coaches: Emmanuel Nnenji, who trained her in the Kingston Area Soccer League; Dave Jutton, her Coleman girls coach; and legendary scholastic and collegiate coach Gene Ventriglia, who worked with her on the U-16 Quickstrike club in 2010.
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